Voting times increase in south Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Voting times increase in south Georgia

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

October 29, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hour long waits at the polls have Georgia's Democrats asking for advance voting hours to be extended, but election officials say Georgia's times to vote will stand.

In Atlanta and here in south Georgia, voters have waited up to two hours to cast a ballot. When Albany's precinct closed at 5:00 last night there was still an hour and a half wait.

The line for advance voting snaked around the wooden support polls inside the candy room at the Riverfront Resource Center. Voters buzzed about various topics as they waited. For first time voter Julius Williams, the wait was bearable.

"30 minutes," said Williams.

For Roderick Collins it was the second time in line.

"Actually I came yesterday and it took about two hours before I even got up to the door and I had to leave and so I decided I would get up early this morning and come back and as you can see the lines are still long but I'm willing to wait," said Collins.

With the line averaging anywhere from an hour to two hours, most voters are willing to take the time to ensure their vote counts.

"I know that this is very important so I actually have to pick up an assignment for class tomorrow but I know that I have to get it done or I won't get to," said Kristen Massaro, a voter.

"It was worth it because it really comes down to it right now about politics and people got to get real about politics and stuff," said Williams.

Poll workers say the machines have held up as more than 1,132 voted Monday and another 1,133 cast ballots Tuesday. From voters there's been only one big complaint.

"Parking is the biggest problem people are unhappy, walking around the building," said Noel Buttner, Advance Voting Manager.

Election officials say those who registered to vote during the last week possible don't have their names in the book and it takes a little longer to verify their registration. Reading and interpreting the the amendments has also helped slow voters down.

 Democrats requested the polls be open this weekend, but Georgia's Secretary of State Karen Handel said state law doesn't provide for weekend voting and prohibits voting on the Monday before election day.

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